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Your Guide to Building a Preventive Maintenance Program

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Modified on

February 8, 2023

Keeping assets in working order can quickly become expensive. Many facilities managers tend to follow the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy regarding equipment, thinking it will save them money. However, waiting until an asset breaks down before investing in repairs can cost you thousands. Preventive maintenance programs make equipment maintenance less expensive and help business owners get a longer lifespan out of their asset investments. 

What is a Preventive Maintenance (PM) Program? 

A preventive maintenance program, also called a preventative maintenance program, establishes a routine for keeping assets in working order by scheduling regular fixes. Instead of waiting until something breaks down and disrupts workflow, you would have it looked at for issues that might cause more significant problems. Examples include cleaning moving parts, checking for any loose bolts or fasteners, or making sure nothing is trapped within the gears of a machine. 

Why Should I Build a PM Program? 

When machine parts break, the costs can build because of having to pay for new parts, cover expedited shipping, and hire a technician to handle the repair. Those costs skyrocket if the equipment can’t be repaired and you must buy and install a new machine. 

The last thing you need during a busy period is your essential machinery breaking down. The downtime can impact revenue and your reputation among customers. Establishing a preventive maintenance program helps prevent unexpected breakdowns that affect operations. You also gain additional benefits like: 

  • A longer lifespan for your assets 
  • Reduced risk of critical equipment breakdowns 
  • Improved efficiency of your machinery 
  • Less downtime because of unexpected equipment malfunctions 
  • A safer environment within your facility 
  • Improved cost savings 

Taking a systematic approach to keeping equipment maintained takes you out of the reactive maintenance mode, where you only act when there’s a problem. Investing money upfront in a comprehensive preventive maintenance program protects you and your company from expensive downtime and emergency repair bills. 

How to Implement a Preventive Maintenance Program 

Facilities managers often hit a roadblock when setting up preventative maintenance programs. They worry about how to handle the upfront costs, if they have enough available workforce, and how to decide what assets to cover. Below are some guidelines for working through these issues as you map out your preventative maintenance program. 

Establish Goals 

You don’t need preventive maintenance for every asset within your company. Start by thinking about how to align your plans of implementing a preventive maintenance program with your overall business goals. Where do you see your company headed in the future? What assets are essential to helping you hit your milestones? 

Use that information to set up an initial plan to present to company executives who make the final decisions. Focus on a few essential assets with higher repair costs that show the greatest return on value. Showing decision-makers the clear benefit of preventative maintenance makes it more likely that they will provide you with enough budget to help you achieve your preventive maintenance objectives. 

Take an Inventory of Assets 

Start reviewing your available equipment to decide on the items to include in your preventative maintenance plan. Capture essential information like: 

  • How often might the equipment need repairing 
  • The location of the asset 
  • The condition of a machine 
  • The cost of performing regular maintenance versus a repair 
  • What departments are responsible for the upkeep 
  • Cost of parts that might need repairing 

Having an asset’s complete history at your fingertips makes it easier to manage your preventative program. 

Rank Assets Based on Criticality 

You should perform a criticality analysis of each asset. It’s a process that helps you rank the importance of maintaining equipment by assessing the risk associated with each asset if it breaks. Those risks include how a failure can happen and how that would impact safety, costs, and productivity. 

A criticality analysis clarifies what equipment should have a higher priority in your preventative maintenance schedule. Items with a larger impact should rank higher, while those deemed non-critical and less expensive should be lower on the list or left off entirely. 

Understand Your Available Resources 

Review your current pool of available resources for your preventive maintenance program. That makes it easier for managers to assign tasks to workers or pinpoint whether they need to bring in additional personnel to keep up with the goals of the preventive maintenance initiative. You also need to draw up a job plan on what it takes to adequately maintain each asset, including: 

  • Making pictures, images, maps, and other asset documentation readily available 
  • Establishing a repair and maintenance history for each piece of machinery or equipment 
  • Attaching safety instructions for personnel 
  • Drawing up instructions on properly inspecting an asset 
  • Documenting spare parts connected to an asset 

Establish KPIs 

Set up key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect the goals of your preventive maintenance program. The metrics help you track your initiative’s effectiveness and let you know if you need to make some changes. Establishing consistency in monitoring the strengths and weaknesses of your preventative maintenance plan builds towards steady progress and increases the chances of the program’s long-term success. 

Items you can track through your KPIs include: 

  • Planned maintenance percentage (PMP) — Tracks planned maintenance activities versus overall maintenance tasks. 
  • Preventative maintenance compliance (PMC) — Tracks PM program effectiveness by looking at how many tasks get completed on schedule during a specific period. 
  • Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) — Measures the productivity level of an asset. 

Create Your Preventive Maintenance Checklist 

Draw up preventive maintenance checklists that help you track your entire PM lifecycle. Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software products make it easier to keep up with workflows set up within preventative maintenance programs. They help you: 

  • Draw up the outline of your PM program 
  • Track all maintenance activities 
  • Set notifications and alerts for your team 
  • Decide what changes to make based on the analysis of equipment data 

Train Your Team

Set up formal training that walks your team members through the ins and out of your PM program. Make sure they come away understanding their role in achieving the goals laid out by the company. Training sessions should include reviewing software or other tools to make the program more effective. Have your technicians go through the process of completing a preventive maintenance task to ensure they understand the process. 

Track & Adjust 

Because your preventive maintenance needs change over time, you should regularly review your asset plans and make any necessary adjustments. If a piece of equipment consistently breaks down despite undergoing scheduled maintenance, you may need to adjust the inspection schedule. 

Getting Started with Preventive Maintenance 

The ServiceChannel platform makes facility management a seamless process for organizations. You can create a single source of truth that tells you where to locate assets needing maintenance or repair. Schedule a product demo and get a first hand look at the benefits it can offer your company.

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